mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

How do you deal with conflict?

I analyze mine and others behaviours quite a lot. One of the hardest things for me is drawling a line between what is a ‘normal’ reaction to conflict or negativity, and what is a bipolar reaction. Sometimes I feel like an alien, watching the human population and trying to assimilate their actions and feelings and trying to look like just another person going about their business and not the bucket of crazy that I am.

There are a few bloggers I have had sporadic contact with via comments, some via email, and I usually find people to be interesting and supportive and lovely. Recently, a person who comments a lot on my posts and has always been very friendly seemed to take exception to something I’d written. It was a post about how I find that as you get older and have kids and settle down that your ‘dreams’ from when you were younger seem to fall by the wayside. I don’t believe I was whining at all I was simply musing about how I used to have all of these goals and now I simply tread water. She left a comment cutting me down, basically saying that I should be happy with being a mother and a wife and why isn’t it enough, some people don’t even have that and effectively I got the idea that she wanted me to be thankful for what I have and stop my bitching. It was unexpected, I’ve always found blogging to be a fairly safe place to share my feelings and thoughts but suddenly, this person who had always been quite lovely to me seemed to be attacking me for expressing myself. After her initial comments she then made another bitchy comment and when I confronted her about it she simply didn’t respond. I suggested that her issue she had was more about her than me and if it wasn’t she could unfollow me easily. No response.

Now, this kind of thing pisses me off and has me wondering. Did i just happen to fall into her bad day or are people reading what I write and assuming that I’m having a big complain about my existence? If I’ve given that impression I’m slightly mortified. Blogging has helped me figure out so many things about myself because I don’t hide here, it’s the one place on this earth where I can be completely me, crazy, silly, odd, opinionated etc – I can talk about being abused when I was growing up and how I love being a Mother but would like to achieve other things in life as well. I have found a lot of people through blogging who have had similar experiences to myself and have never felt so understood, and when you have a mental illness, feeling understood is half the battle won.

I’m not claiming to be perfect by any measure, I have a temper and sometimes I’m completely unreasonable. But I would never go on someone’s blog and attack them for expressing their thoughts and feelings. Even if I was having a terrible depressive episode and was feeling horribly sorry for myself, I would never shit on someone elses picnic. Now is this me denying her the right to be annoyed at what I wrote or am I right in thinking she was bang out of order having a go at me? See now, this is where things get confusing for me. I ponder and ponder, trying to figure out what’s reasonable and what’s not.

I’m not under the delusion that everyone can get along and world peace is just around the corner, but I believe that we should treat other humans with a basic level of respect and kindness and we should NEVER take out our own shit on other people especially if they are simply trying to figure their life out and have a happy existence.

My temper is worse when I’m manic, I’m probably at my absolute worst while driving. I’m a terrible person in the car when I’m manic, I get quite aggressive and people cutting me off or pulling out in front of me then going slow make me want to tear my hair out. I’ve heard from quite a few people with bipolar that they also turn into crazy beasties while driving, so it’s nice to know it’s not just me but it’s terrible. But when it comes to my person to person interactions I tend to try to avoid conflict. I believe that things should be addressed, and if you have a problem with someone or something they’ve done you should talk to them directly about it, get t out and clear it up. I hate passive aggression so much that I stopped using facebook, as I believe it’s a breeding ground for passive aggression, haha. Seriously, I couldn’t cope with all the bullshit associated with facebook so I packed it in. People having snipes at each other through status updates but never mentioning names, people being horrible to each other, it was just really unpleasant and I couldn’t be bothered with it anymore.

My way of doing things quite often gets me labelled cray cray. If someone is being passive aggressive towards me I will simply ask them straight out if there is an issue, and 9 times out of 10 the person will deny there being any issue, even though they’ve been making snide back handed comments that CLEARLY relate to me or a situation I’m involved in, I’ve learned that in your 30’s and for those in their 40’s, most people will smile to your face and then expose their true feelings about you when your back is turned, But talk openly about an issue and you’re considered inflammatory or weird. And it’s not like I’m looking for a fight, it’s quite the opposite. I believe if you address things and find out if there’s an issue by simply discussing it, then it negates the need for brooding. So many of us get upset with people and let it fester, we get more and more angry over an issue instead of just talking to the person about it.

Anyway, I’m curious to know how others deal with conflict and what your thoughts are on being open about things or just letting things go. Quite often, just letting things go is impossible for a person with a mental illness, so what else should we do? Hmm.

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Assigning blame

I’m not sure if it was growing up being told I was shit, growing up being treated like I was shit, the abuse, the bipolar, who knows…but every time something would go wrong with a friend I would always spiral a little. Firstly I would over-analyze the crap out of it all, mulling every details over in my head. It’s a given that I blamed myself entirely for every interaction I would have that was in any way negative. I was always sensitive to rejection in any form, in fact most of my twenties was spent obtaining and then evacuating affection before I could be rejected, convinced it was inevitable I always got in first.

Now, I’m slowly learning to see things in a more rational sense. When I can see full well that I have done absolutely nothing to warrant negative feelings towards me, I’m becoming more indifferent and accepting that everyone acts like a douche sometimes, and sometimes it has nothing to do with me. It’s always been hard to decide what is reasonable behavior and what is *my disease*, sometimes I feel like an alien trying to act like a human, not quite sure what is acceptable expectations and so on, and what are not.

I think a lot of us go directly to blaming ourselves, it’s how we’ve been conditioned either through abuse, PTSD, or whatever mental illness we may have. The older I get the more I’m learning to cut myself a break, I don’t expect my beautiful kids to be perfect I teach them to just try their best, so in teaching them that nobody is perfect, how could I possibly expect myself to be perfect?

We go through this cycle of blaming ourselves, feeling like shit, writhing in guilt, and over and over again. Let’s just chill out, if it’s our fault then say sorry or make a gesture to fix things, if it’s not our fault then accept that sometimes people act stupidly and sometimes it truly has nothing to do with us, it just is. Assign blame only where it should be assigned and even then, be careful, blame is a hazardous thing when dealt with too often, like most negative things.

So hopefully I will continue to relax and learn what is worth the worry and that most things truly aren’t worth the worry. Let’s cut ourselves a break hey people!

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What effect do you have on others and do you give a shit?

I’ve recently been taking more chances, I stepped out of my comfort zone and pitched a few articles for a mainly mens site as they advertised for writers. The way it works is they have a forum, with different threads and areas for different stages of pitch and editorial. You post your pitch to the thread and then a moderator or administrator responds with feedback on how it could be improved and then it gets discussed at their meeting and either more feedback is given or it moved forward for publishing.

The problem with this forum format is that every man and his dog has access to your pitch, and there are some heavy egos in play in this place. They have a “karma” system where people give and take karma depending on whether they like what you say, I’ve been a member for just over a week and i’m currently minus 7 karma, haha! It’s all because I dared be a female with an opinion. I made a pitch, albeit not my best work but I was just having a crack, and a few douchebags jumped all over me. They were really harsh about it and basically were begging for moderator approval themselves. The fact is, they aspire to be a moderator and feel they should give ‘advice’ when the fact is they haven’t even had any articles published themselves. Crazy right? One of them came in and told me the title sucked, the material is overdone and my sources were shit. I said hey, that’s pretty harsh and a shitstorm erupted.

Since then, there have been some lovely people comment on the post and some really truly terrible people comment on the post, and it makes me wonder – how much do we think/care about how what we say and do affects other people?

My main issue with the site was that the “advice” i was being given was done so in a belittling fashion, he then claimed that he was just a writer trying to discuss ideas with another writer but that isn’t what happened. It’s about their egos, and let’s remember how hard it is to create something and put your ideas out there AT ALL, it’s horrifying lol and to have people be SO negative about it is just unnecessary.

I’ve noticed most people tend to fall into one of two categories – some people are self aware and think about how they affect other people, and genuinely care. This is not to say they don’t mess up sometimes and hurt other people, but generally they tend to be mindful of people’s feelings and keep a track of how they make people feel. And then there’s the people who have self esteem issues and feel it necessary to bring others down to make themselves feel big and strong. They come in swinging their big opinions round like a dick in the wind and make sure they let you know that they’re better than you somehow.

How many people do you know that are the latter? It’s not something that’s specific to men, women do it just as much but in this particular scenario I’ve been dealing primarily with men. It’s their boys club and I’m a crazy emotional bitch for standing up for myself.

I often muse over why we can’t all just get along, I’ve written quite a few posts about this. I truly believe if we are all a little more self aware and try to care just a little more about others, than the world would be so much better than it is. Sure, we all have our issues, I’m bipolar, i have social anxiety and i was abused as a kid. I have self esteem issues and don’t feel good enough sometimes, but I try not to take that out on other people, i try not to make others feel small to make myself feel better.

Maybe you’re someone who does this but doesn’t realize, that’s why i think it’s important for all of us to take a step back sometimes and just think about how we act, how we treat people and what motivates us. That’s really key, what’s behind our actions? It’s what i’ve been using to try and combat my bipolar, sometimes it’s hard to draw a line in the sand and know what behaviours are mine and what behaviours are stemming from the bipolar, so i step back and analyze what and why, try to figure out if i’m being reasonable or if it’s my condition acting on my behalf. If we all did this, we would make more of a positive impact than a negative one, and just imagine how much nicer life would be if our interactions were more positive than negative.

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It’s easier to feel alone

It’s easier to feel alone, it’s easier to believe no one cares and that we are destined to be held within our own shell, battling ourselves and never finding true happiness. For so long I was told I had depression and anxiety, i got my diagnosis just over a year ago, I’m bipolar. Being bipolar for me means I’m sensitive to how people treat me, how they respond to me, if they reply to a text or email or tweet or what have you. It means that sometimes I’m full of hope and productive, I believe that life is hard but ultimately worth the effort of trying and that trying is the only way to be happy. Then BAM, I’m on the floor in tears, empty, i feel like nothing tethers me to this life other than my children and if not for them I’d already be gone. I feel so empty yet so full of pain that the contradiction itself is a source of great discomfort.

I spent my twenties curled up in my own ball of sadness and madness and all that goes along with it. Not understanding my illness properly didn’t help, I hit rock bottom a few times and nearly took my own life, more than once. When I heard people say things like ‘it gets better’ or ‘talk to someone it will help’ i would instantly get my back up and roll my eyes, ‘stupid hippie’ ‘what do they know?’ – i didn’t believe anyone knew my pain, couldn’t understand my pain and had no interest in me.

I craved love, but when anyone got close to me I’d find a way to push them away, preempting the inevitable rejection from them. Not trusting that anyone would love me once they got to the real me, I suffered rejection as a child and couldn’t possibly handle anymore as an adult.

I understand why someone would put up walls, a lot of us do. I’m not completely without them myself, but I have knocked many of them down, I’ve started to let people in and started to share the real me, and it’s more healing and cathartic than I could ever say. I know it’s hard, but if you can just take baby steps and try a little at a time, share some of yourself and when you find others like you it makes you feel so much better. The fact is, no one is alone in their pain, there are so many of us going through similar things at any given time, and it’s when we connect and use each other to lean on that we start to win the fight. Big love to you all xo

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How often do we impact others negatively?

It’s often chaos while dropping the kids off at school, made worse at the moment by the fact that most of the car spots are taken up by tradesman working across the road. A car exited a spot and I went to drive into it but the massive car in the spot behind decided to move up, even though she had a spot, and took my car park. I beeped, and she waived her hands in the air at me and said something I couldn’t hear, her response was aggressive. She had a massive car and I have a tiny one, so i couldn’t really compete. My point here is, why did she feel it necessary to do that? We all have a thousand choices every day where we can choose to be an arsehole or choose to be kind, every little interaction we have may impact another person, and this negatively impacted me, it put the start of my day off to a shitty start and now i’m in a crap mood. Maybe on another day I would have been able to just shake my head and get over it instantly, but today, it made me angry/sad.

I come across quite a few people who look down their nose at me, they seem to think because i am bubbly and a little muddle headed that i’m not bright enough to notice that they are looking down their nose at me, but i notice everything. I analyze everything, i’m a constant worrier and contemplate human actions and comments a great deal. I rarely use facebook anymore because for a person as sensitive as i am, it’s just not a good idea. It’s all whining or passive aggression and pictures of what people had for dinner, but more so, passive aggression. I unusually made a comment on a friends status this morning, in good humour, and one of the people that tends to look down their nose at me made a further comment, almost to point out how puerile i am, and while i don’t really care what this person thinks of me, it has me thinking – why do i attract so much mean behaviour?

Do others find this? Do others try to be friendly and find it symbolizes them as weak? I think this is my main problem, I try to be friendly and i joke and am over sensitive, all of these things, and when a person who craves superiority of any kind smells this on another person, they exploit it. Fundamentally, I know that this says a lot more about them than it does me, that they have a need to feel better than others because they are inherently insecure or have some kind of superiority complex, but it doesn’t stop it feeling unpleasant.

I used to be like this, because of insecurity i would act coldly and quite nasty towards others at times. But this was in my twenties while i was working through a lot of pain and trying to find who i was as a person, for some it seems to be a permanent state of being.

If we all took a step back and considered how we affect others, how we would feel if something we are doing to someone else was done to us, the world would get along a lot better than it does. If instead of taking someone’s car park we realize it’s a nasty thing to do and stay where we are or look for another, if instead of making snarky comments we keep it to ourselves, a lot of people would be a lot happier than they are now.

We can’t all be perfect all of the time, and sometimes we are going to act like a dick, but maybe we need to take responsibility when we do and rectify it when we can. At the end of the day, people need to get along. There are so many many reasons out there why we shouldn’t get along but we need to refocus on all the reasons why we should.

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Who cares when you can’t?

I think this is a common thing amongst those of us who suffer from a mental illness. The feeling that we are misunderstood, no one quite gets us, we are alone in our pain. We end up isolating ourselves and shutting in our feelings because we have learned through past experience or have just generally assumed that sharing these feelings will just alienate us from friends and family.

So here we end up, dealing with this mental illness while feeling alone and isolated, the worst possible position to be in while dealing with a mental illness. But then a lot of us have had an experience where we have shared a little or a lot with someone, where someone has said ‘you can tell me anything’ and you tell them anything and inadvertently they shy away or find themselves overwhelmed with what you’ve told them. The fact of it is, you CAN share with people and it’s the healthiest thing for you to do, but you have to choose wisely. I don’t mean to segregate people into us and them, but people who don’t suffer from any form of mental illness can be as understanding as understanding can be, but they can never truly empathize because it’s impossible to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes unless you’ve worn the same pair.

If you have a friend who is bipolar or suffers depression or agoraphobia or schizophrenia or any manner of illness, it may not be the same as yours but there is commonly overlapping symptoms, and you will probably find greater understanding from such a person than those who are not afflicted by any mental disorder. If you don’t have any such friends then find a psychologist, write a blog, find a forum or any number of things, there are people out there just like you and connecting with each other can only help. They say misery loves company, which i find untrue, when i’m miserable i lock myself away from the world, but in misery understands misery, so there may be some truth to it.

When we give up on sharing or letting our feelings out, it breeds more discontent, we are unable to heal and things just stagnate or get worse and worse until things spiral out of control. It’s scary, and i spent years locking my feelings away to myself and isolating myself from others like me, cancelling on friends all the time and having them get so annoyed with me that a lot of them just gave up inviting me places in the first place, i never told anyone why, i just kept it all inside and it nearly ate me alive from the inside out.

So take a leap of faith, if you have a story, share it, if you have questions or just want to vent, do it. Just being heard can bring such a sense of peace, it’s amazing and liberating and I’ve finally started the healing journey, as healing isn’t an overnight thing, it’s a journey and happens in inches and feet and you fall backwards sometimes but if you keep yourself open to others and keep trying to move forward, you will eventually get where you need to be.

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So I spoke to the root of my issues…..my Mother

We recently went on a family holiday, it was a seven hour drive. We packed up the car the night before and at seven thirty the next morning hubby myself and the kids left for a beach on the south east coast of new south wales. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere my clutch went on my car and i panicked, i had to pay $250 for roadside assistance and $380 for a rental car, plus the rental car company held a few hundred on my account, add to this the actual repair of the clutch (normally around $700) we were pretty screwed. Stuck in the middle of nowhere in australia is a pretty bad place to be stuck, the RACV van turned up after nearly two hours and loaded my car onto his truck, advised me he had a battery to start a few miles away. A few miles turned into half an hour towards our destination, he then got another call out and another, we ended up being in his van for about four hours before going backwards about 80 kilometers from where we broke down. We got the rental car at about 7 at night and because we were so nice about being in his truck for so long and the kids were so well behaved, he agreed to knock a hundred and fifty off our repair, but we were still not in a great situation financially, we just didn’t have enough budgeted for all that had gone wrong.

In my panic on the roadside i called my mother. I think it’s an innate thing, when you feel like you’re fucked beyond belief you reach out to those who are MEANT to love you and be there when things get truly messed up. I called her and asked her for help and she wasn’t able to, but it opened the door for her to correspond with me so that’s been interesting.

In the end i asked my best friend, i really didn’t want to ask her for different reasons but she really came through for us and was brilliant about it. Didn’t make me feel like shit for asking, didn’t make a fuss over it at all (like my Mother did) she just said yes and asked for account details. She’s like the sister i wish i had, and at a time when my Mother had me feeling like a piece of shit she made me feel a bit better by showing me she cares.

The holiday itself was a bit of a nightmare, the kids had a good time which is what’s important, but i had to reign in spending a fair bit and was stressed for a lot of it not knowing if my friend could come through as i hadn’t yet asked, and dealing with my mother, it was hard. Not long ago i sent this woman a letter outlining how she’d broken my heart by letting multiple and repeated abuse occur to me throughout my childhood and by judging me so harshly as an adult, then in my hour of need i call her asking for help! WTF right. I felt like a trapped rat and i was desperate to make the holiday happen for my kids, we’d already paid for the holiday park so it would have been pissing away even more money if we’d have somehow turned around and gotten home. Something new to us as well, in this region of australia, they have things called paralysis tics, small blood sucking creatures that look like funky head lice that burrow into your skin. The first night there was a write off as we arrived just after 9:30 at night, but the second night we went into town and had dinner and when we returned my eldest daughter came out of the bathroom complaining that her head hurt and she had a lump and red mark on it. I asked if she’d bumped it and she couldn’t recall doing so. I looked closer and it was a lump with a red rash around it with a white mark in the middle and a brown dot in the white mark, I had a look at it and i thought she must have had some tree bark embedded in her head or something, i got my tweezers and pulled it out and was shocked to find a small critter in my tweezers. OMG! I had just pulled an insect out of my child’s forehead, it was so so freaky. I called my friend in melbourne and she googled tic bites for me, so i called the local hospital and asked if she needed to go in and they said yes, bring her in.

We arrived at this tiny hospital and by the time i had finished filling out the form a very handsome doctor brought us through to emergency. I took the little tic with us and they inspected it to conclude i had gotten the head out of her (apparently getting the head out is very important and if you don’t it causes all kinds of issues) – they told us she should be ok but if she had flu symptoms within a week to see a doctor. She was quite unwell the next day, tired and somewhat grumpy, not wanting to partake in activities and what not so i hung out with her while hubby and our other daughter did activities run by the holiday park. She perked up the next day and had a bit of fun before we packed up the rental car and left.

So now i owe my friend money, still have to repay a small loan we got last month when my sister emptied our account and have my mother making contact. I’m not spiraling or anything but it’s not an ideal situation. This is when i use all of our spare money for christmas for the kids and i just don’t know how i’m going to pull it together this year. So that’s a worry as well.

We really liked the place we went on holiday though, it had kangaroos all around our cabin and other adorable wildlife, under better circumstances we would love to go back. We would better plan the 7 hour drive, although on the way there it took 14 hours to get there all up so it couldn’t take that long again lol OH MY!

I hope all of you are doing well and dealing with a bit less shit than i am, and if you are, share! It helps to talk about things. I hope none of this has come across as whining because yes, i hate financial issues and it’s shit, but it’s showed me i have a good friend who loves me and will help me out in a jam, my kids had a good holiday except for the dirty tic and my car has a new clutch, so there are some positives that have come out of it. Usually this kind of thing would have my bipolar flare and I’d spiral into a depressive issue feeling overwhelmed but i haven’t broken yet and i’m kind of proud of that, especially considering how tentative things were just last month for me. Mwa xo

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From rock bottom to…..something else

It’s hard to believe it was just a few weeks ago I was in hospital on suicide watch, every moment hurt to just be, it was pretty dire. For 25 years I had known terrible things had happened with my first stepfather, but i kept it buried deep and by drudging it all up at once i overwhelmed myself and ended up drowning in trauma.

In hindsight I feel a little silly for thinking i could take it on without consequences, there’s a reason it was buried, my sub conscious was looking out for me in it’s own backwards way, so when i dug it up and thought about the details and talked about it often and openly, it all became too much and i hit rock bottom. That place most of us know, those of us with a mental illness. It creeps in the shadows like a monster in the closet, it’s a place we don’t want to go away but it’s always in the back of our minds that we will be there again. Rock bottom is not a fun place, it’s despair and turmoil and pain, so much pain, and it hurts so much that it feels impossible to go on.

But, you go on. If you’re truly worried about harming yourself and/or ending things, you check yourself in somewhere and tell people, let people know that you’re close to the edge, they’ll hold you back from falling temporarily while you need them to. I’m going on holiday soon and it’s been a while since we’ve been on a holiday, i’ll be sitting by the beach soaking up the sun and the fact that not long ago i could barely hold onto my life will be but a distant memory. But it does leave it’s scars, every time we visit that place i think it takes a little bit of us away, and we have to fight to get it back. I spent a couple of weeks treading water after my episode, and i’ve been a lot quieter on my blog than usual, which i know is the opposite of what i should be, because the more i write and share the better i get. so this is just that, an update if you will.

I’ve had so much encouragement and support from some of you, it’s meant a lot to me. I adore all you wonderful broken beautiful people, broken just like me. But there’s nothing wrong with being broken, this is something i’ve come to learn, so long as you are trying to be the best version of yourself, then the rest are just details.

So for anyone near rock bottom, i hope you hold on. I’m not far past it and life is good. I’m not at full capacity but i’m happy enough. I can’t say I’m happy, because that’s a work in progress, ultimate goal if you will, but i’m happy enough and that’s a good place to be. everything can change so quickly, we can be so miserable and pained one week and a few weeks later the world looks a lot different. there’s always the exhausted treading water phase after such an episode but that’s necessary, it takes a physical emotional and mental toll on a person being that low.

Peace 🙂

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Socially accepted racism

My two daughters each have a vintage style cabbage patch doll. They like to take them out with us sometimes, last night i saw my pdoc and in the waiting room a woman reached over to me and said “good on you for getting your daughter a brown doll” – i simply smiled instead of getting into it in the doctors waiting room, but afterwards my daughter questioned it. she asked ‘mum, why did that lady say that’ and i told her it’s because she thinks mummy was making a statement about race equality by buying you a doll that is brown. my daughters big blue beautiful eyes looked up at me and said “i never even thought of her as brown, she’s just tasha” – this is because i’m teaching my children not to see colour in the same way that my generation was taught to see colour.

I’m 32, my mother and her husband are somewhat racist, my grandparents were typical australians, they would never discount a person on a one on one basis based on their race, but they did tend to generalize racial groups, which is something rife in australia. When it comes to “boat people” or immigrants, it’s very much us and them. A lot of people think these people are coming to our country and stealing our resources and getting government hand outs, they don’t pause for a moment to think of the situation these people have left behind them and that they deserve to be here, they deserve to live in a place where they are safe and don’t have to worry about militia or where their next meal will come from or any such issues.

The fact of it is, most middle class australians try not to be racist, but it’s hard when the media shows Aboriginals in the light that it does, when the stories that get reported on them are never positive but always relate to alcohol and substance abuse, incest or child molestation. True, in some areas these issues are rife, but it’s not something an entire race has to answer for, just as much as there’s a bunch of gross old white men out there looking at child pornography on their computers every day, as a caucasian person i would never expect to be held accountable for the acts of these men, yet a lot of people view the entire race of Aboriginals as drunk child molesters, it makes my heart sad.

I was in England when the London bombings occurred and suddenly anyone wearing a turban or a hijab was viewed suspiciously. I moved back to Australia not long after the bombings and found the same mentality here, most not even realizing that those wearing a turban are an entirely different religion to those they think they’re hating. I have worked with quite a few Muslims and have found them to be much like anyone else, sure they have different religious holidays but they laughed at jokes like anyone else, cried when they were sad like anyone else, treated me with kindness and if you look at the structure of their religion, it’s actually quite beautiful, much like most religions, their true point isn’t to segregate and alienate but to spread love and generosity amongst people. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of any race/culture/religion, all of them have negative aspects, but perhaps it’s time we look further into the positive aspects and try to respect each others differences for what they are, not a choice to be unlike one another but simply differences.

A school mum recently congratulated me on “letting” my children have play dates with kids from a vietnamese family, i told this woman i had spent time with the parents just like i would with any family before letting my children go to their house, found them to be very nice people, so why wouldn’t i let them have play dates? she responded ‘oh you know, they do things very differently’ to which i told her ‘different isn’t bad, it’s just different’ she hasn’t spoken to me much since then, but in my opinion that’s for the best, if a narrow minded person dislikes you, then you must be doing something right.

 

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How much does our happiness depend on those around us?

Yesterday I read a blog urging us to take ownership of our own happiness, not to try to meet the needs of others but meet our own needs and get happy with ourselves. This made me think about how much my happiness depends on how the relationships in my life are going, what state they are in, and how this is dysfunctional.

I have put a lot of stock in trying to make others happy, the more happy i feel i’m making others the more happy i feel myself, while not actually being happy WITH myself. I know a lot of people with bipolar or depression are more sensitive to the relationships in their lives so I wonder how many other people are doing this, trying to ‘feel’ happy by meeting other peoples needs as opposed to being introspective and dealing with ourselves and our own true happiness.

Ultimately, making ourselves happy and being happy with ourselves is a difficult thing to do. For a lot of us, we have had trauma in the past and have a lot of issues to work through, we have low self esteem because of events that have happened so being happy with ourselves seems an abstract concept, something that will happen one day when i’m old. I always figured i was doing the right thing because they tell you that making others happy is a good thing, but when you do it in place of taking care of yourself, it’s more of a coping mechanism than truly giving.

I have had many many friendships in my life and have a gazillion facebook friends but only a small handful of real friends, i feel quite lonely a lot of the time.When things are going well with my friends and they seem happy with me and we are talking often and interacting, i feel better about myself. When we aren’t interacting as much and i perceive there to be a possible issue or potential problem, i let it fester and it affects my whole outlook on life. If i were truly happy with myself then my mood would be more stable independent of what state my relationships were in, i would of course care if there were a problem with a friend but it wouldn’t affect me as much as it does now.

Realizing that i do this is only the first step, I’ve only recently dug up repressed memories of sexual abuse that occurred 25 years ago, and still have a planet of issues to deal with around my mother’s second husband and the way he physically mentally and emotionally abused me along with the abandonment issues i have with my mother herself. I feel like i’m a teeny tiny person standing at the foot of a great big mountain with no climbing equipment, but i have will, and to be completely cliche, where there’s a will there’s a way.

I wonder just how many of us deflect our own happiness in this way, because looking at this great big mountain is scary shit, and it would be easier not to do it, but the blog i read yesterday was right, i have to get happy with myself. Once I’m happy with myself i think i’ll have a lot less issues with my friends because i wont be putting that pressure on myself and them for things to be ‘perfect’ all the time.

I’m interested in thoughts and opinions on this so please feel free to share if you have anything to say.

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